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The Rise of Vegan Cosmetics in Vietnam

Veganism” – When it comes to this term, we often think of it as a “distinct” noun in the vegetarian culinary field. However, vegan beauty is no longer a completely new concept within the Gen Z community in Vietnam – the young people share a high awareness of health and the environment, as it has become a trend and focal point in the skincare world. Let’s explore it together with GMA!

I. What Are Vegan Cosmetics?

Simply put, vegan cosmetics (also known as ‘Vegan Beauty’) are cosmetics that say ‘no’ to ingredients sourced from animals, are not tested on animals (cruelty-free), and exclusively use ingredients derived from plants.

Conventional cosmetics typically contain ingredients from animals, such as snail mucin, silk, lanolin, albumin (a type of protein found in animal serum), cholesterol (animal cell membrane fat), gelatin (a form of collagen from bones and animal skin)… Or they have been tested on animals (mice, rabbits, etc.) to observe the effectiveness and optimal performance of the product.

Today, the issues of environmental protection and animal welfare are gaining momentum and are supported through practical actions. Because of this, the cosmetics industry is no exception; the use of vegan cosmetics has emerged and is gradually becoming a new global beauty trend, both internationally and in Vietnam specifically.

So, the quick and accurate way for consumers to identify vegan cosmetics is through certification from organizations like Vegan Action or The Vegan Society. These products often display the ‘vegan’ logo on their packaging for easy differentiation.

II. Why Are Vegan Cosmetics Becoming A Trend Among Vietnamese Consumers?

Recently in Vietnam, many artists and beauty bloggers such as singer Hồ Quỳnh Hương, Giang Ơi, Võ Hà Linh, Trinh Phạm… have also embraced this trend.

In Vietnam, alongside traditional cosmetic brands that make up a significant portion, the past decade has seen the emergence of numerous new brands favored by users who adopt a ‘green lifestyle’, creating vibrancy in the domestic cosmetics market.

1) Vegan Cosmetics Are Very Gentle

Gentle on people – Gentle on nature – and Gentle on the environment. 

To be recognized as vegan cosmetics, they must meet standards of clean, plant-based sourcing and exclude any ingredients from animals, as well as refrain from animal testing. The production and testing processes for vegan cosmetics adhere to strict international standards, avoiding any harmful additives like colorants, fragrances, or harmful chemicals. 

As a result, vegan cosmetics are exceptionally safe for Vietnamese consumers, even those with the most sensitive skin. Moreover, vegan cosmetics manufacturers are striving to use recycled plastics for packaging to reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly.

The primary factor propelling the popularity of vegan cosmetics lies in their inherent safety and effectiveness in skincare. A product meeting vegan standards must adhere to stringent criteria from ingredient selection to production and testing.

2) Changing Mindsets & Lifestyles Of Vietnamese Consumers With Vegan Cosmetics

We must address the pivotal shift in the mindset and lifestyle of many individuals, which has been prompted by the changing global landscape due to climate disasters, natural calamities, and the grim outlook caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vietnamese consumers are growing more conscious about environmental protection and maintaining a balanced natural ecosystem.

Hence, people are seeking beauty products that are eco-friendly, and vegan cosmetics meet the criteria for being beneficial for both humans and nature. Many are adopting minimalistic and green lifestyles to contribute to environmental conservation. By opting for organic foods, and reducing the use of plastic bags, and plastic items, the new generation of Vietnamese consumers prioritizes products that are “friendly” to both bodies and the environment. Furthermore, the changes in preferences and beauty routines during the pandemic have also led to a search for vegan cosmetic options.

3) Reducing Animal Torture & Killing for Cosmetics Production and Testing Annually

As Vietnamese consumers witness and become aware of the cruel and unjust treatment of animals, they are eager to resist and protest against these unethical actions. Commitments to plant-based ingredients and the avoidance of animal testing create a humane approach toward animals. This receives a strong resonance from the community and animal protection organizations.

Thus, veganism transcends the boundaries of the food industry, becoming a choice and a green lifestyle for the Vietnamese people.

Vegan cosmetics used to be considered a niche market, especially among well-established beauty brands. However, as consumer demands evolve, products spanning from budget to premium, regardless of the production segment, be it body care, skincare, makeup, household cleaning, or specialized cleaning products, have undergone significant shifts.

Imported from Western culture, the vegan trend is gradually gaining more recognition in Vietnam. The same applies to vegan cosmetics, with brands like Cocoon Vietnam emerging amidst this trend. The company specializes in offering vegan products, utilizing purely Vietnamese ingredients like pumpkin, mint, lemongrass, and coffee from Dak Lak province.

III. A Case Study Of Cocoon – Vegan Cosmetic Brands Garnering Attention from Many Vietnamese People

1) A Brief Overview Of Cocoon

In recent years, vegan cosmetics have gained traction among many Vietnamese consumers. Among them, Cocoon is one of the domestic brands that has left a significant mark in the Vietnamese skincare industry and is seen as a new phenomenon in the local cosmetics scene.

Cocoon is the first and only vegan cosmetic brand in Vietnam to be certified “vegan” by the global animal protection organization PETA. The brand consistently introduces 100% vegan products, capitalizing on readily available natural ingredients from Vietnam’s own resources, such as pumpkin, Dak Lak coffee, Ben Tre coconut oil, and Cao Bang roses.

This approach has defined a uniquely Vietnamese Cocoon, distinct from any other brand on the market, breaking two stereotypes of vegan cosmetics:

  • Affordability due to naturally sourced, indigenous ingredients.
  • The ingredients not only cater to Vietnamese skin but also demonstrate superiority over non-vegan formulas, showcasing technological advancements.

Another crucial factor propelling Cocoon’s swift rise to prominence in the skincare industry is the transparency in product information displayed on packaging, along with a clear commitment from the manufacturer. This commitment includes rejecting parabens and skin-aggravating substances like corticoids, alcohol, mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2 – oxygen peroxide), and fluorescent agents. Notably, their shampoo products are also free from plastic microbeads, which are harmful to the environment and human health.

Due to these relentless efforts, in November 2021, Cocoon was honored with the “Inspiring Brand” award at the Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards (APEA 2021). This annual award is organized in 14 countries and markets across the Asia-Pacific region, recognizing enterprises and leaders who have outstanding achievements and qualities, building successful businesses while generating positive values for the community.

2) 5 Highly Effective Marketing Strategies of Cocoon

Cocoon is a domestic brand, a choice within the niche of vegan cosmetics that is globally renowned but not yet widely recognized in Vietnam. Hence, the brand faces various challenges, especially in competing with international cosmetic lines.

Consequently, the company continuously bolsters and implements marketing strategies to ensure customers and the community become aware of the brand and gain a better understanding of its products.

a) Utilizing Social Media Marketing – A Vital Strategy for New Businesses

Cocoon has maximized the allure of Social Media platforms to execute advertising campaigns, combining them with Gamification. Particularly noteworthy is the campaign ‘Explore Vietnam’ (launched in August 2020), a captivating Minigame with simple rules and easy participation.

“Explore Vietnam” is an outstanding campaign to increase awareness for Cocoon

In this campaign, players embark on a journey to discover each region where Cocoon sources its ingredients. By commenting and tagging friends under the Minigame’s post, players receive a link via Messenger and have the chance to win Cocoon’s vegan products. Cocoon’s Minigame Marketing strategy has generated a tremendously viral impact, drawing in and encouraging numerous interactions with the brand.

“Tried all the Cocoon items and these are my favorites & most dislikes” video is reviewed by Giang oi – A famous vlogger and environmental activist in Vietnam

b) Increasing Brand Awareness Through Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing yields highly effective results in enhancing brand recognition, capturing user attention, and fostering trust. Cocoon has effectively leveraged the growth of this marketing approach by collaborating with several renowned Beauty Bloggers.

Among them, notable mentions include YouTubers such as Khoai Lang Thang, Đào Bá Lộc, Trinh Phạm, and rapper Suboi. This strategy has enabled the brand to reach a wider audience, build trust, and persuade them to choose Cocoon’s products.

c) Made In Vietnam – Brand Positioning Targeting Vietnamese Consumers

Cocoon has successfully established a ‘Made In Vietnam’ brand identity. This unique differentiation sets Cocoon apart from other cosmetic brands in the market. Every product of the brand undergoes a process of exploration, research, and a deep understanding of the hair and skin of Vietnamese individuals. As a result, each product is aimed at providing the best care for Vietnamese skin and hair.

Furthermore, the ‘Vietnamese’ essence of this vegan cosmetic brand also comes from the ingredients used. Specifically, the ingredients in the products are entirely sourced from Vietnam, such as pumpkin, pennywort, Dak Lak coffee, and coconut oil from Ben Tre.

d) Community Health-Oriented Product Strategy

Cocoon’s marketing strategy centers around products that benefit the health of the community. Cocoon takes pride in being the first Vietnamese cosmetic brand to be included in the Leaping Bunny program, a commitment to not testing on animals or engaging in cruel treatment.

This program falls under the Cruelty-Free International organization. Additionally, Cocoon has received certification from the animal rights protection organization PETA for not conducting animal testing.

e) Building an Environmentally Friendly Brand Image

All of Cocoon’s products come in packaging that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally friendly. The brand also implements ‘green commitments, such as:

  • Using eco-friendly paper packaging.
  • Avoiding microplastics in their products.
  • Ensuring all product bottles and containers are recyclable.
  • Not utilizing plastic coatings for packaging or product containers.

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